Viewing Lake Wallenpaupack Homes for Sale? What to Look Out for
Since you’ll probably be spending quite a few years of your life in the home you choose, you want to make sure it’s the best fit. The first walkthrough is when you get a chance to compare a home to your wish list. Use your senses during the walk-through: Does the house smell funny? Does the flooring slope? Are the walls are cracked or stained? Does anything feel off about the place? Look for the year the house was built. A home that’s over 50 years old is generally considered old. Although this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, it could signal foundation issues or problems with plumbing, electrical, or other systems.
Your Lake Wallenpaupack real estate agent should be with you during the first walk-through. She will act as your professional second pair of eyes and will keep track of the advantages or potential problems of the property you are interested in. In this article, we are going to discuss what to look out for in your first walk-through to help you make an informed assessment of a home’s condition- before falling in love with it.
Notice any cracks in the wall
When a house ages, you can expect some minor settling and may notice hairline cracks over doors and windows. The ground beneath the foundation tends to shift slightly with changes in weather and can lead to small, non-damaging cracks in the weak spots in your walls—the places where doors and windows have been inserted. Small drywall cracks are probably nothing to worry about, but if the cracks are showing discoloration, such as brown or yellow tinted stains, then the problem may be the result of water damage from a leak. Large cracks that are more than a quarter-inch wide in the walls and ceiling may be the result of damage to the foundation that needs addressing.
Check the floors
Sagging floors in other portions of the home mean the structure may need some work. Sometimes a house will aggressively settle, creating a hump in the middle. Deflections may be costly to fix because you’ve got to rip out the existing floor, correct the support columns, find a matching floor, and finish it to match the original flooring. And if there are very uneven flooring, foundation work might also be needed.
Spot fresh paint
Take note if it looks like the home hasn’t been renovated in a while, and you spot fresh paint or sheetrock in the cellar or basement ceiling. What that likely means is that before the homeowners put their house on the market, they fixed something. Or, they’re covering something up. If you notice any unusual cover-ups, be sure to ask the seller why the work was done. If you conceal water-damaged areas with paint, moisture gets trapped in the walls that will likely lead to mold. One of the biggest culprits is the sheetrock underneath window sills. If you see soft or warped sheetrock, you know there are leaks.
Notice any water in the basement
While you’re in the basement, keep an eye out for water. If it’s recently been rainy, and the basement looks dry, it’s good news. If it’s been dry, and the basement appears damp, you should look for a deeper issue and figure out where the water is originating from.
Inspect the windows
Replacement windows are an investment and the cost can add up if you need to replace them down the line. Cheap or faulty windows are also likely to drive up heating costs if they are not replaced.
- Foggy windows – When the inert gas seal is broken, damaged, or deteriorated, moist air and dust can make their way to the center area and condense on the interior surface of the glass, eventually building up a foggy haze.
- Damaged wood trim on the exterior of the house – When water is trapped and left on the wood surface that is not sloped downward away from the wall and allows rainwater to sit until it evaporates. These areas soon develop spots of wood rot and, if left unrepaired, allow water to enter the wall and begin to rot the wood framing.
- Cracked window pane – A pretty obvious defect, a broken window will serve no good purpose and it is also unsafe around children. It will need to be replaced immediately.
- Missing or damaged screens – You’ll want to ensure that all the screens are replaced on all the windows. Sometimes they are stored somewhere else in the home and just need to be installed again.
- Lack of exterior flashing – One main indication of a quality building contractor is a strip of metal flashing that covers the top of the window trim and is secured behind the siding directly above the window. It’s an effective deterrent to water entry at the top of the window. Some builders depend on a bead of caulk to seal the seam between the siding and top trim, but over time the caulk eventually fails.
- The window is not opening, closing, or locking with ease – There should be no difficulties opening, closing, or locking the windows with the exception that there may be furniture or other blockages in the way of testing the window. Report any issues if they are identified upon inspection.
- Evidence of water leak into the home – Water stains around the window is a clear sign of water intrusion from the windows.
- Broken lock – A broken lock on an older window could mean a misalignment of the sash or that the hardware on the lock is simply worn out and broken.
- Missing handles – The windows won’t be able to function at all without the operative handles!
- Air leaks – Feeling a cold draft coming through a closed window is not a good sign. Look for areas where the caulking may have failed or if the weather stripping is still in good condition.
Scope out the roof
Ask the homeowner what year the roof was installed and ask to see the warranty to back it up. Also, ask for documentation on the last time the roof was repaired. Older homes may have several layers of roofing, some of which could have asbestos. At some point, all those layers of the roofing will need to be removed. It can be difficult for someone who is not a roofing expert to know everything about the roof just by looking at it, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or follow up with an expert opinion.
Notice the trees outside
Trees are often overlooked by buyers and even the home inspector because they don’t think it’s part of the inspection,” says Nick Gromicko, founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. However, trees near a home pose all sorts of risks – like trees catching fire or falling during a storm. Smaller risks include the gutter filling with leaves, roots getting into the basement, or an infestation of bugs or rodents. Removing large trees down the road can be costly so keep that in mind.
Eyeball the electrical system
Electrical and plumbing issues are hard to see with the naked eye. Start by checking how the electrical boxes are sorted. Is there a lot of exposed wiring? Does it look like it was installed correctly? Look at the electrical panel and ask the homeowner if they experience any electricity shorts. Be wary if the system hasn’t been replaced in a few decades. For both electrical and plumbing matters, it’s a good idea to bring an expert along for a second walk-through.
Find out about the history of repairs and renovations
If the homeowner is present, ask questions. You’ll want to ask the seller about the history of any repairs or renovations made, who made them, and about any warranties. Find out if warranties extend with the house, and not just the homeowner. It’s crucial that the house has a clean bill of health with local government agencies. Be sure to ask the seller if all the permitting is in order. Doing a lot of remodeling without permits is one of the largest warning signs before buying a house.
If the seller hasn’t used any permits, what other shortcuts could the seller be doing without telling you? If the seller says they added a new deck, the new deck should be on record. If it’s not, then there is a chance the deck was not built up to code, and may, therefore, be unsafe.
Investigate the bathroom plumbing
Homebuyers tend to only peer quickly into the bathroom, but this isn’t the time to be quick. Long, close scrutiny of the WC is what’s needed. Flush the toilet to find any backups in the system. Turn on the faucets to check the water pressure. Low pressure can indicate a problem with old and corroded plumbing. One way to tell that the plumbing might not be up to par is to look for floors with unusual sagging or dipping in or near the bathroom. This is a sign that plumbers may have done some interesting plumbing underneath the floor.
It’s also common with a remodeled bathroom to find walls that aren’t level, deficient wiring, improperly installed plumbing, and floor joists that have been cut, drilled, notched, or even removed to accommodate pipes or drains. Uneven walls or floors, and floors that aren’t properly supported, can lead to cracked tiles and bigger structural problems.
After the walk-through
Taking some time up-front to do a house history search can help you identify red flags that might cause issues later on. For example, you can see whether a property has a tax lien, something that may cause complications during the closing, or whether it’s in a flood zone. Although some searches can’t be done until you actually make an offer, others can be done online while you’re still searching for homes.
If your sleuthing finds something concerning about the house you are interested in buying, don’t panic. Many times, there are things that at first glance, can be troubling and people will often write off a house they really like without digging deeper into it. There’s often a logical, understandable reason, and it’s not a problem. If you are still unsure about the situation, be sure to talk it over with your Lake Wallenpaupack REALTIORⓇ, who can give you expert advice.
Partner with Lake Wallenpaupack REALTORⓇ, Alicia Kowalik
Looking to buy a house in Lake Wallenpaupack? Let’s talk about what features are most important to you, including the style, size, and type of home you have in mind. Once we have a good idea of what you’re looking for, the next step is to check out Lake Wallenpaupack real estate listings. We’ll take a closer look at each available property that best fits your lifestyle and needs and arrange for private showings of the one worth seeing in person. As a dedicated, full-time Lake Wallenpaupack REALTORⓇ, I will always protect your best interests, advocate for you, use my extensive negotiating skills on your behalf, and guide and advise you throughout the home buying process. Get started on finding your dream home today by contacting me directly at (570) 470-5076 or by email.
Alicia Kowalik, REALTOR®
Lakeview Realty Inc.
2449 Route 6
Hawley, PA 18428
Direct: (570) 470-5076
Office: (570) 226-6300